Young, who was batted .205 with 28 RBIs in 254 at-bats, was informed by Sandy Alderson after the Mets’ 5-4 victory on Friday night.
“It caught me a little bit off-guard,” Young said. “I wasn’t expecting it. I understood that the playing time had changed. And I realized that. But I didn’t think this was coming. The team has to do whatever they feel is best for the team. I respect that.”
Sandy Alderson spoke to reporters afterward:
“At some point you have to move on. I think this was about the time that we needed to do that. Chris has been, I think, an outstanding teammate to the other guys on the team. I’ve liked Chris a lot since the first time I met him. Unfortunately, it didn’t work out as we would have liked.”
“We were looking for a bounce-back,” Alderson said. “Some of the material that we looked at suggested that was a possibility.”
One chapter closes and a new one begins.
Matt den Dekker is now expected to get the lion’s share of playing time along side Juan Lagares in left field. His .334 average was leading the Pacific Coast League, but more importantly for him, he’s cut down his strikeouts considerably.
Kirk Nieuwenhuis will continue to see playing time as the fourth outfielder and as a pinch hitter, a role he has embraced and succeeded in.
It may have taken longer than most of us wanted to see these moves, but what’s done is done and for now it looks like the Mets can ride the rest of the season out and see what they have.
It’s sounding like Chris Young’s days are numbered and that the Mets are getting ready to cut bait with him, perhaps as soon as this weekend.
One reporter, Mike Puma, also hears that Mets brass is expected to have a conversation soon on promoting Matt den Dekker, and as I wrote previously, when he comes, he will play regularly.
Keep it tuned to MMO while we follow this story…
GM Sandy Alderson told ESPN New York the decision partly was based on Nieuwenhuis being more accustomed to a reserve role, and that he had already performed pretty well during his last go with the Mets.
“It had a little bit to do with the role,” Alderson said. “Nieuwy had played as a bench player up here, had platooned in left field. It was probably a more familiar role for him than for Matt. And the fact that [Nieuwenhuis] had been up earlier in the year and had done a pretty good job for us was probably a factor as well.”
Asked about den Dekker’s performance this season, Alderson said: “Offensively, he’s swinging the bat really well. The other thing to take into account is, OK, so what role is he going to play for us, as I just explained with Nieuwenhuis. But obviously we’re cognizant of what Matt’s doing and we’re pleased about it.”
This was the right move. As I wrote earlier this week, Kirk over Abreu was the no-brainer. Now if we didn’t have Chris Young wasting a roster spot, then MDD would have been the right call because he could slide into a more significant role.
As for the likelihood of releasing CY, Adam Rubin called Alderson cagey as the GM dodged the question: “We’re always evaluating our roster, but as I said, we’re getting close to Sept. 1. So it’s not a material issue.”
Chris Young has been a sore spot almost from the get-go for Sandy. He spent weeks trying to justify the signing to those who questioned his declining performance and diminished skills, and then had to field even more questions about promised playing time and his ultimate role.
Then there was some major backpedaling two months into the season when it appeared the move had backfired. The Young signing started to be described by Alderson and the front office as outfield insurance during a pair of appearances on ESPN and WFAN. The only problem with that was that CY was never treated as insurance (86 games, second most on team) and he kept getting plenty of playing time, even at the expense of younger and better options.
Meanwhile, Matt den Dekker is having a tremendous season for Las Vegas and currently leads the PCL with a .331 batting average. He is hitting .436 (17-for-39) with eight walks and only five strikeouts in his past 10 games. Rubin pointed out that he has just 25 strikeouts in 161 at-bats since his June 18 demotion to Triple-A. That’s a huge improvement.
Looking forward to seeing what MDD can do in September, assuming Terry Collins gives him the playing time.